I don't know about you, but before I went to university I found myself reading countless blog posts and watching endless YouTube videos in order to feel somewhat prepared. Despite this, when I got to university there was definitely a few things I was not prepared for and really wish I knew before I went. So, I have decided to make a mini university survival guide, filled with tips and tricks to make this very, very strange time just that little bit simpler:
1. Keep your door open: If you are going to bring one thing to university, bring a doorstop. It can be difficult trying to say hello to everyone whilst you are carrying your life down the corridor, but by keeping your door open it lets your flatmates know they are welcome to come in. It might also be worth bringing a box of sweets or baking some cakes – my flatmates really appreciated when I baked and decorated cupcakes throughout the year, so it could be a lovely way to introduce yourself.
2. You do not need to pack EVERYTHING: For the first term only pack your winter clothes; if you are going home for the Christmas holidays, you can always pack some lighter clothes then. Also, many essentials will be available to buy when you are in the city. Save some room in the car and wait until you arrive before stocking up on toiletries.
3. Buy secondhand textbooks...and not all of them: University textbooks can cost £100s, however, if you dig around you can buy secondhand versions for a fraction of the price. Also, appreciate the “recommended reading". You will not be examined directly from a certain textbook, so only buy the ones that suit your reading preferences the most.
4. Register with the university doctor ASAP: The first time you are properly ill whilst away from home can be quite upsetting. If you know are you registered with a doctor, it really will help to make things that little bit easier.
5. Remember your key: I have been locked out from my halls. I have been to rescue my friends who are locked out and forgotten to take my key in the process, resulting in us both being locked out – have you ever heard of anything more "me"? So please, for the love of god, remember your key.
BONUS TIP (I hate to disrupt the power of 5 but I cannot leave this out!) If given the choice, choose a higher up fridge shelf and a room far away from the kitchen: This stops other people’s food spilling onto yours, and being away from the kitchen will make a HUGE difference to your peace and quiet.
1. Do not feel like you have to go out every single night: Just because something is going on every night doesn't mean you have to go out every night. Just because your flatmates are going out, doesn't mean you have to! I personally went out with my flatmates a few nights, spent a few chilled nights with my friend from home, and a night over at my boyfriend's campus. How many nights you attend is entirely up to you; at university peer pressure probably won't be as bad as you think – and if it is, you have plenty of time to meet other people who are more on your wavelength.
2. ALWAYS have an emergency £10 on you: Many universities are located directly in the city centre, meaning you can walk from place to place easily. If this is the case, please still keep an emergency £10 on you at all times. Keep it in your phone case or in a bag that you always take with you. This is still a new place for you (probably) and whether you lose your new friends, miss the last bus home or have a change of plans that need a taxi, you never know when you might just need some cash.
3. Check the society nights out: If drinking isn’t really your thing but you still want to get out and meet new people, have a good look at all the society events. During freshers' week most societies will allow anyone and everyone to join, regardless of interest or membership, and will have a huge variety of events – trips to IKEA, buffet meals out, cinema trips etc. This is a great way to meet new people who are just like you. (Side note: all of the sports/dance/music classes will have taster sessions during freshers' week. They are usually free and I would definitely encourage you to try them out. They can be SO much fun.)
4. Explore, Explore, Explore: The concept of moving away to a new place for university is certainly discussed a lot; however, I do feel like the new opportunities to explore are often overlooked. Challenge yourself to find the hidden gems of a new city, places that aren’t signposted on all the maps.
So there you have it, my mini university survival guide! Please remember, if university doesn't turn out to be the "time of your life" please don't worry. I really do like university, but I don't "time of my life" LOVE university, and that is completely okay. Look after yourself and always do what is best for you in that situation.